OPINION

A sitting target

Speculation by international analysts about whether the «surprise» result in the recent Spanish elections can be attributed to an attempt by Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar to conceal the true identity of the terrorists from voters (by insisting that the Basque separatist group ETA was behind the fatal metro attack) or to Spain’s participation in the US-led war in Iraq is probably inconsequential. Both of these factors contributed equally to the decision by the Spanish people to protest against Aznar’s policies and methods. One could maintain that, had Aznar publicly acknowledged Al Qaeda as the perpetrators behind the fatal blast from the beginning, the election results would have been less unfavorable for his People’s Party – that is, the party would have lost but with a smaller difference. Spanish voters would still have punished their government for its policies and choices which made Spain a target of fundamentalist terrorists. The only difference would have been that they would not have been able to accuse Aznar of cowardice for hiding the truth behind the terrorist attack as a damage-limitation exercise ahead of elections… It is significant that – apart from most international press organizations which queried the veracity of the government’s official statements from the very beginning – Spain’s opposition parties and press expressed no doubt regarding the identity of the perpetrators of the blast.